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No Enemies to the Right?

September 16, 2019 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

Conservatives have long criticized liberals for what they see as a policy of “no enemies to the left.” That is, they said, liberals might not be socialists, communists, or revolutionaries, but they forbore criticizing such people.


And they have a point. The Washington Post has mentioned Angela Davis in several articles this year, always describing her as an “ activist” and not as a former longtime leader of the Communist Party. Davis has received many awards for her supposed activism for human rights and the environment – as well as the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize, called the Stalin Prize until 1957.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he advocates “democratic socialism” as found in Denmark and Sweden, but he honeymooned in the Soviet Union, defended the communist government of Nicaragua, and signed a letter of support for Venezuela’s disastrous strongman Hugo Chavez. And none of his opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination have called him out for that.

But now conservatives have a problem of their own. Call it “no enemies to the right.”

William F. Buckley Jr. the founder and editor of National Review, was known for kicking the fringe organs like the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement.

As one of his biographers wrote, Buckley “stood guard over the movement he founded and—in what he called his greatest achievement—kept it free where he could of extremists, bigots, kooks, anti-Semites and racists.”

Buckley made some missteps of his own early on. But he did show evidence of changing with the times. As his National Review colleagues put it in announcing his death, “He created modern conservatism as an intellectual and then a political movement. He kept it from drifting into the fever swamps.”


It would be helpful if those on the left would stop suggesting that everyone on the right is a racist. But it would also be good if those on the right would admit that there are racists and banish them for the good of their cause.


But things have changed since Buckley’s death in 2008, as many conservatives seem to have lost interest in drawing bright lines between themselves and the fever swamps. Just consider a few recent cases.

The venerable CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, run by …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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